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Best Acoustic Guitar Pickup for Good Frequency Response 

 July 9, 2021

By  Zen Chung

Imagine if John Mayer started playing "Neon" on stage, but you couldn't hear it because you are somewhere in the middle of the back of the crowd. It is unexplainable how that feeling would absolutely suck. However, thanks to acoustic guitar pickups, it is possible for an acoustic guitarist to play with a band or for a larger crowd. So let us look at the best acoustic guitar pickup with the best sound quality and tone.

Best Acoustic Guitar Pickup

1. Fishman Rare Earth Humbucker Pickup

Sale
Fishman Rare Earth Humbucker Magnetic Soundhole Acoustic Pickup
  • Brand:FISHMAN
  • Fishman is dedicated to helping musicians achieve the truest sound possible...
  • The Rare Earth Humbucking pickup has been carefully re-voiced and fine-tuned to...
  • Equipped with cutting-edge neodymium magnets, the new Rare Earth pickups offer a...

Fishman has some of the best acoustic guitar pickups you can ever find. The humbucker pieces have been fine-tuned for a smooth treble response. The re-voiced acoustic guitar pickups set themselves apart from their predecessors with their truly amazing tone.

A true acoustic tone is the main reason why anyone buys an acoustic guitar in the first place. Humbuckers get the real strumming sound with each contact correctly represented in the ending sound output.

Humbuckers are the most accurate and natural magnetic soundhole pickup tone you can ever achieve when amplifying the guitar. Acoustic pickups have one goal; to replicate the natural tone that the guitar would give in a normal situation or make it better. Humbuckers do just that.

The acoustic pickup has neodymium magnets that can fit small guitar holes up to 92mm wide. The guitar pickup has a volume control wheel to make managing the sound easier. The soundhole can not hold you back anymore when you have the humbucker.

Pros

  • The acoustic guitar pickup has more accurate guitar sounds.
  • Best magnetic soundhole pickups for a warm and rounded natural acoustic tone.
  • The pickup for acoustic guitars has a noise cancellation technique that ensures a clear tone.
  • Smooth treble response.
  • Volume control.
  • Sustained tone output.
  • The re-voiced tone is better than the traditional pickup.

Cons

  • Since humbuckers have a double single-coil set, the output is twice as much as a single-coil pickup. This feature makes the amplifier sound louder than it normally would.
  • The preamp gain has to be lower than usual.

2. Seymour Duncan Woody Hum-Canceling Pickup

Seymour Duncan Woody HC Hum-Canceling Soundhole Pickup
  • Transducer: Magnetic
  • Placement: Soundhole
  • Jack: 1/4" male
  • Color: Maple

Seymour acoustic guitar pickup is built for stage performance and look. Seymour has a beautiful maple cover that has a look that matches the acoustic vibe of your guitar. In addition, the pickup does not look very mechanical.

The humbucker pickup performs exceptionally by producing the cleanest, most accurate tones amplified from an acoustic guitar. In addition, the acoustic guitar pickups relay the correct frequencies that have no interference of any kind as a result of electromagnetism.

Seymour offers the best acoustic pickups for you if you are a sucker for the '50s and 60's tone and vibe.

Pros

  • Best guitar pickups for touring guitarists because they are easy to install on the guitar.
  • Single coil guitar pickups have a bright tone that resonates with legendary music from the '90s.
  • The pickups are feedback resistant, picking up on the sound from the strings and no the monitors or any other speakers. A soundhole cover is therefore not mandatory when playing the guitar near a monitor.
  • Best sounding acoustic guitar pickups that, in some instances, have adjustable magnetic poles. This feature makes a better tone response if you want more bass or treble out of the acoustic guitar.
  • The acoustic guitar is great for guitars without volume and tone controls as the levels are customized on the guitar pickup itself for the preferred sound quality.
  • You do not have to drill any parts of the guitar to install the pickup.
  • The acoustic guitar pickup is generally warmer than piezo pickups.
  • The pickups give a more balanced sound.

Cons

  • Acoustic guitar strings are not suitable for nylon-string acoustic guitars.

3. Fishman Matrix Infinity Pickup

Fishman Matrix Infinity Pickup & Preamp System, Narrow Format
  • Offers clear, transparent tone, dynamic string response, and ease of...
  • Soundhole-mounted rotary controls for Volume and Tone
  • Features the world’s best-selling undersaddle pickup, the Acoustic Matrix
  • Guitar Pickup: Standard pickup length of 2.65" (67.3 mm) will fit most guitars...
  • Ukulele Pickup: Standard pickup length of 2" (50.8 mm) will fit most ukuleles up...

Fishman under-saddle pickup is the best investment you can make as a performing acoustic guitarist. The pickup has a unique tone control that cuts away the mids and boosts the bass and treble frequencies. The piezo pickup is considered a masterpiece acoustic pickup among guitarists.

The pickup has a soundhole mounted rotary with knobs to control the volume for a more satisfying guitar playing. Fishman is known for producing the best acoustic preamps with the most sales in the under saddle category.

The versatile pickup is easy to install and is easy to control for a seamless stage performance. In addition, the pickup has a low-battery LED signal that keeps you aware of when you need to change to a new set at all times.

Pros

  • The guitar pickup is very responsive to the strings.
  • The pickup is useful for both the steel and nylon acoustic guitar strings.
  • The pickup is more feedback resistant than the other types of acoustic guitar pickups.
  • The pickup has good clarity to the musical instruments.
  • Unlike other pickups, piezo pickups have a discreet design.
  • Best acoustic guitar pickups for a guitarist performing alone because of the percussive nature.

Cons

  • The pickup has an overly bright tone.
  • Better for acoustic guitars with EQ.

4. K&K Mini Pure Acoustic Guitar Pickup

K&K Pure Mini Acoustic Guitar Pickup
  • Three Transducer Pickup System for Steel String Guitars
  • Includes 1/4" Endpin Jack
  • Pre-wired, No Soldering Required
  • High Output - No Battery Required!

K&K is a three-way pickup system that is perfect for steel-string guitars. The guitar pickup has a quarter-inch endpin jack. The pickup has a high output, and no battery is required for the system to work.

The pickup does not require any soldering during installation because it has been pre-wired for efficiency and high performance. K&K does not require any onboard electronics to function. You do not need a preamp system for the acoustic guitar pickup to function. K&K are the best acoustic guitar pickups for non-percussive playing because they do not work based on pressure.

Pure is a passive pickup that can work perfectly by producing a full-range tone that is warm and pleasant to the ear. The system is placed below the bridge plate under the bridge. The location of the pickup makes the guitar feedback resistant for better and fearless performance. K&K are the best acoustic guitar pickups for performing on a stage with monitors or speakers.

The pickup is eight inches thick and acts as a diaphragm, vibrating to the frequencies produced when playing the guitar. The pickup achieves the same gain for nylon strings and steel strings before feedback.

Pros

  • The pickup can work for both the nylon and steel-string guitar.
  • K&K sound pure mini is not an active pickup but functions exactly like one with similar outputs.
  • The pickup does not need a preamp to get the signal through.
  • Three-way pickup system for maximum coverage and great sound.
  • Non-contact pickup for a zero percussive response resulting in superb sound quality and a natural acoustic sound.
  • The pickup is best for an acoustic instrument because it does not give off any feedback from the monitors on stage or loose string vibrations.
  • The pickup is located under the bridge plate for any playing style.

Cons

  • The k&k pure mini diaphragm vibrates along with loud sounds from the speakers around.
  •  This trait might cause muddiness during a live performance recording session.

5. Shure SM57 Cardioid Dynamic Mic

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Shure SM57-LC Cardioid Dynamic Microphone
  • Contoured frequency response is clean, instrumental reproduction and rich vocal...
  • Professional-quality reproduction for drum, precussion, and instrument amplifier...
  • Uniform cardioid pickup pattern isolates the main source while reducing...
  • Extremely durable under heaviest use
  • Frequency response 40 to 15,000 Hz

Shure SM57 is a unidirectional external microphone that captures what you will be playing on the acoustic guitar as listened to by the ear. The microphone has a great frequency response ranging from 40 Hz to 15000kHz. In addition, the microphone has a clean frequency response that will capture the frequencies accurately for a clean recording or monitoring.

The microphone picks up both the tones and the percussive nature of your playing. The microphone is extremely unidirectional and can be used in a 100, 000 seat arena and a small studio. The microphone is wired for a clean instrument sound that can go directly to a DAW or an amplifier.

Most professional guitarists use the microphone for a more natural tone as it picks sound straight from your hands. In addition, the microphone lasts longer and is meant to be used on different items. The mic can work on different guitars regardless of the type of strings.

Pros

  • The microphone isolates the sound because of its super-cardioid nature.
  • Microphones pick up both the tonal and percussive values of the playing.
  • Best acoustic guitar pickups for recording purposes.
  • Large frequency range.
  • A microphone can be used for a small space or a large hall, capturing the correct sound in its right context all the time.
  • Great sounding acoustic guitar pickup.

Cons

  • The microphones are wired and have to be connected to a mixer or a soundcard.

Types of Guitar Pickups

a) Soundhole Pickups

Also known as magnetic pickups, an acoustic guitar soundhole pickup relies on electromagnetism which uses Faraday's law of induction. The law comes into play when the guitar string, which has an electric core, vibrates above the magnetic pickup. The vibration creates a new magnetic field that creates an electric signal equal to the string's frequency.

The pickups use pole pieces placed directly beneath the guitar strings, with each pole aligned to a string. The pieces rest on a base plate which is wound between 5000-9000 times in copper wire. This wiring creates the field for electromagnetism to take place.

There are two types of magnetic pickups; humbuckers and single-coil pickups.

i) Humbuckers

Humbuckers are a combination of two single-coil pickups. The pickups are wider than their single-coil counterparts. As a result, humbuckers have a thicker sound that is rounder and warmer. In addition, the humbucker coils sustain the tone more than other pickups.

Humbuckers deliver high output and get rid of the noise that comes from the single coils. Noise cancellation is one of the exciting properties of a humbucker pickup.

ii) Single Coil Acoustic Guitar Pickups

Single coil pickups are unique because they act like antennas that pick up electromagnetic interference and give it off as a hum. This sound is particularly famous during the period when bands were louder. The amps were responsible for a more crisp, bright sound. The pickup features a more glassy tone with a 60s feel.

Single coil pickups convert the vibration of the steel strings to an electric signal due to electromagnetism. The acoustic guitar pickup is narrower than the humbucker counterparts and can be fitted easily to any soundhole size. The guitar pickup is great for steel guitar strings because they give the guitar's natural sound without too much noticeable difference in the tone.

b) Exterior and Interior Microphone Pickups

Microphones produce the most accurate tones and sounds that replicate what the ear hears. The microphones can either be internal or external. An external microphone picks up the tonal values together with the percussive sounds when strumming or plucking.

An external microphone needs to be directional. This feature is important to seclude the sound of the guitar from other sounds in the room. Therefore, a condenser microphone is the more preferred type of mic for guitars.

Mics capture more internal resonance.

Microphones can be more difficult to set up. A more informed setup would be more helpful. It is good to know where to place the microphone, depending on the tone you are going for.

c) Piezo (Contact) Pickups

Piezo pickups work the same way the under-saddled pickups work. The only difference is that the contact pickups are mounted beneath or on the soundboard. The contact pickups are mounted on the board using adhesives. The adhesive can look a bit off on the surface when the pickup is removed, but you would hardly need to remove the pickup.

Installing the pickup internally is a little difficult but possible. First, you need to remove the strap button to thread the cables into the guitar.

Contact pickups can have up to three sensors that maximize performance. A soundboard transducer is more likely to have more than one sensor.

The transducer pickups are more feedback resistant compared to microphone pickups. For the best result, look for a sweet spot to install the pickup.

Zen Chung


I'm Zen Chung, a piano and violin teacher based out of Plano, Texas. I started this blog because my students (and their parents) kept asking about the best musical instruments to buy online. Look no further I'm here to save the day! 

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